This past week, the twitter hashtag #justaGP has gone nuts, and with good reason.
For years, General Practitioners have been contending with pushback about being considered a Specialist. Having completed the required 4 years, and spending another 12 months completing your FRACGP or FACRRM specialist exams, you apply to Medicare not under “Specialist” but under an Application for recognition as a General Practitioner.
Australian Doctor released an article offering some facts and figures on the contribution that GP’s make to our Healthcare system and our communities.
Read the full article here: http://www.australiandoctor.com.au/news/latest-news/just-a-gp-the-evidence-you-need-to-prove-the-do
Facts such as:
1 more GP per 100 000 people is linked to a 9% decrease in mortality, compared to 1 more Specialty doctor per 100 000 linked to a 2% increase!
Over the last 6 years, government spending on General Practice has remained more or less the same, however hospital costs have increased by a whopping 18.5%.
As a whole, it appears that what a GP does is under-valued. There is a lot of elitism in Healthcare and General Practitioners appear to be at the bottom of the medical food chain.
General Practitioners must do the same training and sit a series of exams recognizing their skills as a Specialist General Practitioner.
The fact that they need to have knowledge of a whole range of different medical issues makes me wonder why General Practitioner aren’t valued for what they offer.
I see General Practitioners and Specialists as a team. A General Practitioner is the person you see to treat a patient as a whole. They specialise in People. If they determine that their patient requires attention to a particular area of their health, this is when they’re referred to a Specialist.
The issue I see is the doctor who ruins it for the rest of them. The ones that aren’t there to treat the patient as a whole and refer when required but the doctors that are there to make money, who refer to Specialists because it’s a quick and easy to get the patient out of their consult room. The doctors that are using the services to increase their pay packet rather than to increase the health of their patient.
This leads back to the issue that we have right now though. Doctors feel the need to over service and to rush consults because that is how they make a living.
It also doesn’t represent the Discipline as a whole either – how often do we hear about one person or group of people ruining it for the rest of us?
So a change needs to be made. I can’t see our government coming up with an effective solution without our help.
What is the solution?